Summary and Analysis
The whole cast is now assembled at the Senate to play out the game. Just as sentence is about to be pronounced on Bonario and Celia, Voltore interrupts the proceedings. He pleads for mercy to conquer justice. Then Voltore throws himself at the feet of Bonario and Celia and asks their pardon. Pointing to Mosca, Voltore speaks these accusing words: "That parasite, that knave, hath been the instrument of all."
In the fuss, Volpone sneaks away into the city. Corvino tries to discredit Voltore's confession by referring to his disappointment in Volpone's will. The court is shocked at the news of Volpone's demise. Voltore clears Volpone of any guilt, but he presents papers that will incriminate Mosca. The court is confused, Bonario is heartened, and Corvino and Corbaccio are in a state of shock. The court, hearing that Mosca is the heir, summons him to appear with the respect due a man of means. Voltore, during the confusion of the courtroom, pushes his papers in front of the avocatori.
Confusion and chaos now take control of the action. Volpone realizes, too late, the results of his foolish pranks. Voltore's change of heart is not the result of a sickened conscience, nor is it the mere product of the desire to assuage his frustration or to put Mosca in his servant's place. By acquitting Volpone of any guilt in this mess, Voltore still hopes to salvage the fox's fortune for himself. After all, he is the only gull who has done nothing that is publicly punishable. To be sure, he did plead an unjust cause before this very court, but does not every lawyer try to win the case assigned him?
Volpone leaves the court, unnoticed and in despair, having no idea of the depth of his troubles. He realizes that he has been caught in his own noose, but there is always the inventive Mosca to rely upon in such circumstances. At any rate, the scene concludes with matters in a state of confusion.